Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Festival of Light

Festival of Light
    by Melissa Campbell

The oil runs clear through the presses
to fill the jars that fuel the lamps all shimmering, "Holy!",
from blossoms on branches of the Almond Tree.

Ripe flows the fruit of ancient Roots,
born virgin in a grove on a mount by the sea;
the oil runs clear through the presses.

Bright miracle shines for the Maccabees,
eight days illuminating Judah's praise,
from blossoms on branches of the Almond Tree.

I see two trees dripping in the Holy Place,
two servants serving the Lord night and day and
the oil runs clear through the presses.

Seven torches flame 'round the throne--
God-eyes searching, plowing the ground--
from blossoms on branches of the Almond Tree.

Not by might nor power, but Holy Breath--
Ruach Ha-Kodesh-- He rushes to rest here in me where
the oil runs clear through the presses
from blossoms on branches of the Almond Tree.
Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. He asked me, “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”

~ Zechariah 11:1-2 (NIV )

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

Lighting a candle in words...I re-wrote this Festival of Lights poem (click for original versionto celebrate the Coming of our Lord, Jesus, not as a babe, but as the Light of the World who becomes flesh in all who will receive Him. 

Originally, I was inspired by L.L. Barkat to write a villanelleAlmond Tree was the fruit of my efforts.  I am glad I took her up on the challenge.  To learn about this rhyme-scheme, you can visit Seedlings in Stone.

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - J. M. Rosenfeld.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Silent Night - a Love Story

Silent Night

She drew the bow through amber wax and rubbed the strings up and back, over the curve of callused wood where ivory skin and chin relaxed, pressed firm the tail to shoulder graceful.

I saw Mother's eyes flash fiery flecks, reflect the flames of fire that leapt high from the hearth with woody sap snapping loud behind us; and then she closed them, dark lashes fanning crests over milky cheeks tilted low, with the smooth of her hair escaping in auburn tress, and she becoming one with her music.

Buttery strains shushed the dark as slender hands fiddled Silent Night with a soothing legato, soft as a baby's hush-a-bye, resonating fifths and lilting lifts, notes curling warm and floating to rest lush like our bed of downy goose-feathers, and us on our knees at the foot to bless Jesus.

Like flakes we drifted dazed in the lull, adoring, our eyes--four little-boy brown and my girlish blue--hung bright like stars on strings as we beheld their beauty, she smiling honey, and he dazzling, strong, leaning together, our breath caught and held forever in their love song.

Dad started first with smooth Irish tenor, and Mother joined dulcet in cheery, rich alto. The two became one as they harmonized holy an ancient story--words dripping heaven shine, golden alms for the poor--God's Son born in a manger, a mother's gift given for all mankind, for love and light and peace and laughter.

And chills ran wild along my skin, and tears lay bitter-sweet on cheeks again waiting for Mother-lips to wipe them clean. And long the years of lonely after she passed, and long the waiting for another glimpse of song or bow or smile or touch, and only in the remembering...

All was calm. All was bright. All was good that Christmas night when Dad and dear Mother sang carols joyous to their wee ones. The boys and I, we huddled close and dozed, wrapped warm in soothing melody, before we lay our heads on downy soft, all three tucked tight with hugs and prayers and dreams of hope to lead us.

I wrote this in honor of my grandmother, whom I loved, and my great-grandmother, whom she loved, two oldest daughters growing up with the name, Mildred, two brave women gracing gentle in their strength.
My mom is Mildred too, but goes by her middle name, Darlene--Tenderly Beloved.  And she is.  An oldest daughter, I was supposed to be Mildred.  Mom stayed with the M's and gave me Melissa instead--Honeybee.  And so I am.  (Thank you, Mom!  I love you.)
Both my grandmother and great-grandmother died prematurely from cancer, the eldest leaving behind her adoring girl, barely into her teens, and two little boys still needing a mother's touch.  I know this woman only from the smile she left in a black and white portrait and the stories told by her children--my grandmother and great-uncles. 

She was one who loved and loved to give.  She prayed and sang, made music with a violin along side her husband in church and at weddings.  She passed on a legacy to the generations--four so far, all who hear the sweet strains--a rich deposit of love for her God and mankind.
Her violin now rests on the shiny wood of my dad's and mom's entrance table, a cherished symbol of our musical heritage.  Four strings run tight with a strength that perseveres.  A stringed bow lying still on its side sings of gentle hands that once fiddled and folded in prayer over her children.  They touch us now--in spirit--with the hope of a Song of life and love that endures forever.  Love--I pray today, we, her daughters and sons, will keep playing and praying and passing it on.

Happy Christmas, everyone.

Photo Courtesy: flickr - Luz A. Villa

Monday, August 15, 2011

A New Day Dawning

All the windows of my heart I open to the day.

- John Greenleaf Whittier


The Dawning

Remembering the betrothal...

We shared wine, and you said yes.  I promised forever over a glass of rich red.  Later I dreamed you dancing while I drank the dregs of another cup alone, and settled the price of your purchase, extravagantly.

It seems like ages since I first beheld love twirling in your eyes. You were young and sweet like Abba's grapes still ripe on the vine.  You had no idea what it meant to be a bride.

When we kissed good-bye, you cried, not understanding the consecration. I tattooed the letters of your name over my heart, and with a finger drew a crown on yours.  I gave you my word I would return for you soon.

Now I stand below your window listening to the rush of your gown and girlish laughter, and I must confess I have been crazy counting the minutes until I can make you mine.

I did not abandon you as some have said, but went away to build us a home with lots of rooms next to the river, at the foot of the vineyard Abba gave us.  And while I worked late you grew weary and slept.
Watching through the glass...
But I am here now, waiting quiet, knowing full the pain of walking lonely, and remembering all the times I wanted to kiss away the wounds that came from the hands of your friends.

There were nights I came and stood with the stars, faces turned to your window parched, watching you drench the dark with fragrant oil, a mix of tears and love songs, and I was overcome with love for you.

Now a candle flickers from the sill, casting light shadows across your face.  I linger long, hoping to catch a glimpse of fire dance in those sapphire depths. Your eyes pierce my heart with eternity.

I have been faithful like this garden oak, roots gone down deep, leafy green a canopy of shade, and branches reaching high above the panes, watching dawn awake in the heights and depths of all your mystery.

Darling, I see clear through the glass how the years have matured you, your beauty full-bodied and complex like a rare vintage, and my lungs ache for breathing the headiness of your perfume.

Your light shines lovely from behind the veil, like a city on a hill, radiant, longing to know as you are known the secrets of glory, and captivating me speechless with all your charms.

Surely you knew I was coming.  Even as you slept I felt your heart hold mine.  Now I see you making yourself ready and I can't stop this emotion from running wet across my cheeks.

Beloved, our wedding day dawns...

I shout your name and taste it sweet as it rolls smooth over my tongue.  Again, I am undone as I watch you rise and rush the window like the sun, in a whirl of white linen and pearls.

You bend far to kiss me complete with the light of your eyes and I can't drink you fast enough. With carpenter hands, scarred and rough, I hold the silky smooth of yours, and thank God for the gift of covenant.
We soak long in ancient blessing.  My heart spills holy as I watch you inhale and put your lips to our wedding cup, then drink deep and savor the fruit of our own vineyard.  I kiss the wine from your lips and hear Abba say he is pleased to introduce you as my bride.
Kallah,  do you know how perfectly you complete me?  Your smile pure erupts and lights the room. Everyone claps when I splinter the glass, and we make love with our laughter as I carry you across the rose petal sky. 

Ah, Love, you will drink deep from this cup of joy again and again as we open our windows to a never-ending day of celebration.

Listen, the sound of angels singing. The fig has formed its early fruit.  Doves coo and almonds bloom and yes, winter has finally passed.  And you rest here in my arms, content at last.
For those who mourn:   Though it is dark, you must look to the day.  For even now the sun rises and the dawn wakes gloriously.

The Dawning:  Over a week ago I was watching the sunrise, and I heard the Spirit say, "It is time."  I watched the beauty of light and color rise up ahead of the sun, and I knew God was speaking about His glory rising on the Bride of Christ (Isaiah 60.)  We are seeing this happen now.  Many people I have spoken to have been led into a type of seclusion with God in the last year.  He is drawing our hearts to intimacy with His.  My writing is inspired from His word and His heart.

Kallah--similar to Kayla, the name of my oldest daughter, which also means pure--is the Hebrew word for bride.  I have always believed our names are God-given, and I come undone thinking that 26 years ago I chose a name for my first-born to declare God's glory in the earth today.

The Spirit and the Bride say Come!  And the One who is faithful does not disappoint us.

May blessings abound as the Son rises upon you.

I am re-posting this poem today at the prompt of Jason Stasyszen, host of Warrior Poet CircleTo see more poems prompted by the word “faithfulness,” please visit Connecting to Impact.

Photo Credit: flickr - quacktaculous

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Taste of Honey

"We will be friends until forever, just you wait and see."  ~Winnie the Pooh

"Honey, let me tell you that I LOVE the laughing sound.  I love to make the laughing sound."
~from Honey, I Love by Eloise Greenfield

I have been thinking today of Winnie the Pooh and his love for honey, and more than that, of his heart-felt love for friends and the great delight he takes in giving and receiving simple graces. 
A young girl from South Africa whom I had never met, once prayed for me.  She said she saw me as Winnie the Pooh getting lost in the wonder of God, and going from house to house--those of my friends--to celebrate and delight in His goodness.  I have never forgotten it.

And if truth be told, I would have to say I am like Pooh--even the "tubiness." {smile}  I love sweet things: ice-cream, honey in my tea, baby smiles, husband kisses, a friend's hand-written note, the smell of cinnamon and honeysuckle, Summer rain and Sweet Water from the Rock...Holy Spirit whispers. 
I imagine sweetness, or the need for it, was written in my DNA, for the more I taste of Jesus, the more I desire Him.  And the more I know his goodness, the more I discover there is to know.  I can't get enough.
But we can never be too full of God, can we?
Paul wrote this to his friends in Ephesus:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV
Love surpasses knowledge.  Love fills us with God. 
In love, my mother gave me the name, Melissa Anne.  I was supposed to be a Mildred like all the other oldest daughters.  Thankfully she broke tradition.  Melissa means, "honeybee."  And Anne, "grace."  The first I have always been.  And the second, I am growing into.  I am learning to love as I am loved.  I am learning to be love and grace in a world that hungers for a taste of honey.

And God has so graced me with wonderful family and friends--precious ones all carrying unique the seed, the DNA, of our Creator--all who help to make me who I am. 
I wrote this poem below in honor of you, and in honor of Him whose presence I adore.  Whether here, or there or somewhere in the air, I send you thanks and love and the sweetest of blessings.  God promises to those who take delight in Him, the desires of their hearts--I pray your hearts bloom with His goodness toward you.

A Taste of Honey

 Honey, I love
And the perfume of bees
Running barefoot in clover
Light breaking through Willow trees

I love the sunny lilt of laughter and
The three of us on our knees
Looking for extraordinary
The taste of tea-berry leaves

I love how the hush of evening
Settles sweet like the sip of our tea
And we sway to earth's rhythms
Listening to Nature's soliloquy

I love this Love poured thick
This honeyed mead
That covers and cross pollinates--like bees
And how it washes away my sins

And I cannot help but love, savor
The residue of friends gone but not forgotten
Those who smeared me 

With their own golden laughter

I love this shine, this honey dew
  This grace that makes me gasp aloud in wonder

As I remember you and I love
I love tasting Your presence

With Emily and friends, sharing our Imperfect Prose.

Photo Credit:  flickr - EchoForsberg

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Sky

Summer Sky, what's up with you?  You cast a spell with cerulean hue, suffuse the soul in firefly wonder, draw the gaze to aerie color, romance this woman-child to dream again. 
With breath-taking beauty you woo.  White clouds plume a never-ending blaze through warm shades of sangria.  Alizerin gem burns in the rise, and my eyes glisten with glory.  I catch my breath at you.
Even your twilight rubs golden the skin.  Two feet skirt shadows, tread lightly the damp--bare earth kissing earth.  Two hearts listen, bridge the gap, like heaven and earth--long to  converge, explode in renaissance.
And I collide with faith born of laughter, rush to dip the toes and go head first into streams unseen--the wild blue yonder.  Thoughts run there too.  Full stretch and bold beyond the burning dome, they rest and wait.
Symphony surrounds.  An epiphany in clouds.
And the wind slinks soft against my skin, arousing.  A songster's sweet warble--morning litany.  Lids close to soak the sun.  I breathe, feel the coming and going of substance unseen, unsung, hear silvery-green the rush of oak leaves, the rhythmic sway of ancient trees.

With ethereal delight I rest on wings, stretch and soar.  And oh, the rush of Spirit infusing spirit, lifting in the updraft with more than I could ever imagine, causing my breath to catch again in wonder.  Awe. 
Summer Sky, I am yours.
This dance of Deep touching deep underneath a canopy of color--this romance in the hidden places--transports me heavenward to where my Lover sits. 
Marigold sun warms the realm from which I come and I fly, earth-skin tattooed divine--His name written on heart and lips.  Listening, my head in the clouds, I hear His whisper:
I am Love, and you, My Love, are a Summer Sky.

In what way is God romancing you?
I'm sharing with Emily and friends my "Imperfect Prose."  Come join us?


Photo Credit:  flickr - leolintang

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hope Floats

Fueled by disappointment and lonely regret, my heart wrestles. 
Teeth clenched, I plunge, gasping for breath.  Unable to go beyond what has been, I hold pain like porcelain, all fragile, gilded edges scratched, the smooth worn with cracks.
Petals faded, three years short of fifty.  How can you still love me?
I dive again, and reach with both hands from the breast, each stroke an attempt to soothe soul-anguish.
Clutching tight the pieces, blaming him--the one who's eyes I refuse to see--my thoughts bleed ugly.

Couldn't you have made me better? Beautiful for the world to see?

He hands ice cream dripping from a cone, wild berries picked in the heat, husband-lips on my cheek, love whispered.

I hold onto me, can't bear to see what he sees.  Pieces broken, sharp.  My silence drives him away.

I knew he would leave...eventually.
Like clay hard-baked in a fire, my soul aches, a basin cut full of need.

My children see me only as weak.  Why can't I be one who sails through life effortlessly?  Gloriously?

In the water I weep.  The need--so deep--heaves its way to the surface.  Hands and feet scissor through the wet--mirror of sun.  I am blinded.

Lids closed, I glide, as one with the coolness.  Teeth ungrit.  Peace saturates my skin and the wind--like his kiss--caresses my face with whisper, reminds me to breathe.

To let go.  I float, looking up to see as I am seen.  The sky overwhelms, clouds stretched feathery, two wings out and touching overhead.  A sanctuary. 
A bird sings from its nest.

And in the shadow a husband returns, waits, smiling hope and wrapping warmth with a towel.

Celebrating who we are with Jen and friends today at Soli Deo Gloria.  Come join us!

Photo Courtesy:  Fraz Ismat - flickr

Friday, July 15, 2011

Exultation is the Going

Exultation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea,
Past the houses—past the headlands—
Into deep Eternity—

Bred as we, among the mountains
Can the sailor understand
The divine intoxication
Of the first league out from land?

—Emily Dickinson

Who will soar the sea with me, go beyond ancient boundary-- all looming shadow--launch into the deep eternity, see what only angels see?
Who will listen to Spirit-beckon:  Come lose the self in wonder, plumb heights and depths for treasure, unfurl frail wings untethered, set sail the soul in Mystery?
Who will run abandoned into the waves unseen, throw off heavy bonds like string to the Wind, casting silver nets on the other side of impossibility?  Who will go with me?
Who will drink full liberty, a remnant--scattered seeds, divinely intoxicated, breaking free to see fair, glorious King at the head?
Who will live the life exulting--be holy as He is holy, open ancient gates of glory, ride crashing swells adoring?
Who will bring the increase--nets breaking full of Father's blessing, sons and daughters laughing love, countless as the grains of sand?
Who will become one with the One whose love possesses me, majestically?
For I must go.  I must know as I am known.  No more captivity!  I live to behold chaotic beauty, be soothed with ancient symphony,  metamorphose sons of Glory--I too, am mystery.
Into Depths I plunge, fearing death, fully trusting only me.  Grabbing hold the Messenger, One who knows me well, we wrestle.  I fight, relentless for a blessing, must lose myself...this false identity.  I speak my name...
Death comes, not as I imagined, but in the glorious give and take of life.  Weak, I lay to rest in the swells, fearless and replete, child-like fully, overcome by Divinity.  The God-Man wins.
Joy climbs blush with the morning--sun bursts crimson on the crests, exposing earthy reality.  This house, no more divided, is open for all to see.  Transparency.  In the mountains and valleys, across the heavens only Love covers me. 
A new name flows like honey from his lips, sweet water from the Rock.  A honeybee, I sip nectar of a Prince.  I am His.
I an an ocean blessed, Wind-driven ebb and flow of God.  Love reveals Himself in me, quenches thirst and stirs afresh delight, inflaming soul--a wick, now saturated in the wet, oil of His gaze. 
New day breaks.  I see His face and rise as light wakes golden the grains of sand.  Promised glory glistens among the shadows, disappearing, and I limp barefoot across the dunes, washed, clean, free.
What sets your soul soaring?

Photo:  Cardigan Bay, Wales - flickr - BuildArk

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm Goin'a Sing When the Spirit Says Sing

Beautiful things are birthed from places of brokenness and suffering. Seed-planted dirt, we thirst for heaven's rain. Until the light of day we wrestle giants for a blessing. 
Barren wombs, shattered dreams, wounded hearts--all threaten, make believe we are who we aren't.  False identity, given cruelly, blinding at birth, rejects and accuses, whispers lies and twisted truths.
Oh, bittersweet the mercy of God when He opposes the one we aren't.  Pressing hard He does not crush; knocking down He does not destroy, but ever so gently draws the soul to see beyond all seen and known and behold who we have always been.
Little seeds, they break.  Hard shells disintegrate.  From within great weakness yields great strength and beauty!  Somehow in the letting go of all we cannot keep, we find ourselves free to touch, holding all Divinity. 
Somewhere in the dying we see the Face of God.  And live.
One speaks our name and we are changed.  Day breaks.  Love rises.  We rise too, and limp, Word-made-flesh.  We are as Jesus in this world.  No longer afraid, the earth blooms color, splashes freedom until even our enemies shine.
Such is the story of a people who have yet to see the glory of their suffering.
For several days I have been listening in my spirit to the sound of a 40-years-old memory, child-like voice joined in song--the heart words of an Negro Spiritual:
I'm goin'a sing when the Spirit says sing.
I'm goin'a sing when the Spirit says sing.
I'm goin'a sing when the Spirit says sing.
And obey the Spirit of the Lord.

In the dark I wrestle to remember.  I am a sunflower soaking sun, dark, yet lovely.  Do I speak the lie that condemns me, "You will never be free!"?  Or do I sing the song of liberty?
Thoughts reflect on a nation held captive and dance across my own struggle to be free.  These thoughts.  This people.  My identity.  We claim One nation under God, indivisible.  Yet we are scattered in pieces, little seeds. 
A house divided is destined to fall--a man can serve only one Master.  Which master will it be?
For whether we choose willingly or go kicking and screaming, aren't we all slaves to something...or someone?  A thought?  A system?  A false identity?
I choose to let go of me and sing when the Spirit says sing.  I will be one with the One who inspires a spiritual testimony, the heart cry of a beautiful people who persevere in spite of cruelest hardship. 
I will listen to the Wind blow and sing this song--the sound of freedom--and dare to believe it can be on earth as it is in heaven.
Slaves given names by earthly masters and forced to be a people they were not knew in spirit true identity--sons and daughters, kings and queens, highly loved and favored children born and created by God.
We, too, are kings and queens whatever the color of our skin.  The cost of our freedom has been paid with the blood of a Lamb, a Jewish carpenter, a Son, One who walked freely and fully full of God.
Beauty rises from deepest suffering.  In death we discover resurrection power.  So in Christ, we shall rise, singing, because our eyes have seen the Face of God who lives to be in who we are.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.  ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-28 NLT
Won't you sing--beautiful things--with me?

Photo Credit:   Robert Pernett - flickr

Saturday, June 4, 2011

God Rhythm

Chaos calls to chaos,
      to the tune of whitewater rapids.
   Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
      crash and crush me.
   Then God promises to love me all day,
      sing songs all through the night!
     My life is God's prayer. 

(Psalm 42:6-8, The Message)

Photo: flickr - Swami Stream

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Have You Never Been Mellow?

Two dear friends--one comfortable at the wheel of her husband's Suburban and another craning a neck around the leather of my seat--and me, the three of us were flying high as we rode along a beautiful stretch of Central Pennsylvanian highway, I-99 from Bedford, rolling green in early Spring and sprinkled with wildflowers.

We had spent four days soaking Spirit at Voice of the Prophets conference in Camp Hill, and now spilled joy like the hills breaking into bud around us.

Invigorated with the things God had been saying, and amazed by all the ways He was saying them, we decided to listen to Larry's Randolph's CD, Spirit Talk.  My friend in the back began to rummage through our bags to find it.

Sunbeams broke from the open sky above, danced across our laps and bounced from our shades, warming our words--we were deep in conversation.  How do we find more time to spend with Him?

Suddenly a fourth person was in our midst, singing out LOUD!

There was a time when I was in a hurry. I was like you.

Olivia Newton-John, with a voice as smooth and sweet as honey, belted out long-ago lyrics very familiar to me.  (Before American Idol, she was mine.)

We all jumped, startled, and looked at each other through our shades in shock

"Did you turn the radio on?"  My friend asked as she reached down and clicked it off again.

"Not me."  I was mystified. 

"Hmm.  That was strange."  We all agreed, and went back to talking, my friend from the backseat struggling to peel shrink-wrap from Larry's CD.

We jumped again!

Have you never been mellow?  Have you ever tried to find a comfort from inside.


...happy just to hear your song.

The radio had turned itself on for the second time, and this time it really got our attention!  What was going on?

"Maybe we should listen.'s God."

We did.  And it was!

The lyrics hit the mark--perfect responses to the questions in our hearts.  Perfect peace and joy.  We laughed and sang along like teenagers.  He laughed too.  We could sense His humor.  And His care.  So much that He came to join us.

A fourth Friend in the Suburban, together spilling joy.

We marveled at his ingenuity: He spoke with a song--one written long ago, but now playing on the radio.  He turned the knob so we could hear, even through the static, His words:

Running around as you do with  your head up in the clouds, I was like you.

Now you're not hard to understand.  You need someone to take your hand.

Have you never been mellow?

We got the message.  Have you?

Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27, NIV)

In Christ we can all be mellow!

mel·low [mel-oh]  (from Unabridged v 1.1)

  1. soft, sweet, and full-flavored from ripeness, as fruit.
  2. well-matured, as wines.
  3. soft and rich, as sound, tones, color, or light.
  4. made gentle and compassionate by age or maturity; softened.
  5. friable or loamy, as soil.
  6. mildly and pleasantly intoxicated or high.
  7. pleasantly agreeable; free from tension, discord, etc.: a mellow neighborhood.
  8. affably relaxed; easygoing; genial: a mellow teacher who is very popular with her students.
9.  to make or become mellow.

10. Slang., a state, atmosphere, or mood of ease and gentle relaxation.

11. Mellow out, Slang.
      a.  to become detached from worry, strife, stress, etc.; relax: After final exams let's go down to the beach and mellow out.
      b.  to make more relaxed, agreeable, workable, etc.; soften or smooth: Chopin really mellows me out when I'm feeling tense.

 [Origin: 1400–50; late ME mel(o)we, alter. (perh. by dissimilation, in phrase meruw fruit) of ME meruw, OE meru soft]

Photo Credit:  Stephen Begin - flickr

Have You Ever Been Mellow lyrics by Olivia Newton-John

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Feed the Birds

Feed the Birds. 
The song of Mary Poppins has always haunted me in a tender, sweet way. 
It is said to have been Walt Disney's favorite.  He often requested for it to be played at the end of a work day, as a reminder perhaps... seek first the good of another Kingdom view life from a higher perspective share good news with the poor feed the hungry show the world we love each other, and God cares sing with those having gone before, crowds cheering us on be as Jesus in this world, a light and laughter...seed to...

Feed the Birds
by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

Early each day to the steps of Saint Paul's
The little old bird woman comes.
In her own special way to the people she calls,
"Come, buy my bags full of crumbs.

Come feed the little birds, show them you care
And you'll be glad if you do.
Their young ones are hungry,
Their nests are so bare;
All it takes is tuppence from you."

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.
"Feed the birds," that's what she cries,
While overhead, her birds fill the skies.

All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
Look down as she sells her wares.
Although you can't see it, you know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares.

Though her words are simple and few,
Listen, listen, she's calling to you:
"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag."

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?

- The words of Jesus, Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Bob MacInnes

Monday, May 30, 2011

One Hundred Pianos Retuned

I remember the day it all came to a head.  I ran to hide where no one could hear me, a tiny, windowless bathroom, and I sat on the toilet lid and rocked and sobbed soul anguish.  I grieved over my nothingness.  Without significance, what is the point of living?  I begged God to let me die.

In mercy, Yah was merciless. He didn't answer my prayer.  He stood silent and continued to give me breath while every good thing was being stripped away.

Losing my job didn't seem to be a big deal.  I was confident God had a plan.  But as the weeks turned into months I became fearful, yielding to feelings of guilt and worthlessness.

Relationships I treasured were cut off without explanation causing me to feel rejected and abandoned.  The sudden onset of health issues drained my energy and ability to sleep--I spent months in a recliner. 

When our daughter totaled my husband's truck in a three-car-and-a-house collision, I began to question God's love.  Had He removed the hedge of protection from my children? From my family?  From me?  What had we done to deserve this?  All I had asked was that Jesus be my reality.

All around me things were breaking--the dishwasher, the furnace, communication, relationships.  The roof was leaking and the basement flooded.  Life had become a whirlwind of chaos, and in the midst of it all, I was isolated--a bruised and battered tree on island in the eye of a storm.  (I wrote about it in a poem here.)

I sunk into despair, and could no longer finding peace or pleasure in the simple things I loved to do:  paint, pray, study Scripture, write, cook, swim, shop with the girls.

During one of the darkest seasons of my life, in a place where I have never felt more alone, a faraway friend sent me this olive branch--a quote by A. W. Tozer.  I used it in one of my first blog posts.

Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life....

I remember how two days before I lost my job I had wept in prayer and cried out that all I wanted was God.  All I wanted was to be his instrument.  All I wanted was to bring Him glory, to sound His praise.

He gave me the opportunity to do it first with an audience of One.  And I failed miserably.  When the isolation and trials came, I wasn't able to "count it all joy."  I no longer sang His melody.  I bowed to fear instead.  I accused Him:  Of desertion.  Of failing to protect us.  Of allowing the enemy to have free access.  I chose death instead of life.

God let me bleed.  He showed me I had been living for me and the approval I received by "doing."  He opened my eyes to see where I was looking for identity.  And He shut every door.  I had been living in false reality.  I sang because of His blessings, because I had been blessed.  But when the winds came, stripping away every false dependency and source of identity, I reeled, not knowing who to trust.  The God I loved seemed to the be the One destroying me.

Finally, I yielded.  Face down in tear-stained carpet, I said, "Your will.  You know best."  This was what He was waiting for.  God gutted my piano so He could rebuild it according to His standards.  He answered my prayer, and showed me, He is the reason I live.  He is the One who gives me breath and bread and being.  He is the One who sustains me and gives me a song to sing. He is the One who deserves all praise.

I am learning that without God I am but dust.  My significance and acceptance can not be found in any work or relationship, but in Him who works within me. All my words and service to man and religion are meaningless if not birthed from intimacy with His Spirit.

The attention I receive from such works is stolen glory.  The identity I gain from them is but a vain imagination.

I am learning that my unity with other people, if not birthed in Spirit, is not true unity, but can easily become spiritual adultery.  He has put a longing in my heart for oneness with those of like mind and heart, for only in true unity can the body of Christ be seen as He is in this world, and only in unity can love flow freely from heaven to earth.

I am learning to surrender to weakness and need for Christ and His body, that my life will bear good fruit, for in God I find the source of all things living and eternal.  He is fine tuning me.  He says I am a "key player."

In an orchestra musicians train their eyes to rest on their conductor, and only play as they are directed. So we must learn to fix our minds on things above, and look to the One who gave His life, so with his life ours shall be hidden in God (Colossians 3:2-3.) This is unity in its purest form.

I recently re-connected with a body of believers for corporate prayer and praise.  I am amazed at how much I have changed--how much God has changed me.  Instead of criticism, I find love welling up from within.  I see not the faults, but unique beauty--the glory of Christ--shining from the faces around me.  Insecurity has been replaced with trust and hope.  My eyes behold the King, and my voice sings in key His notes. 

Together--He and me and we--make beautiful music, in delightful harmony, 100 pianos all tuned to the highest praise.

Quote from: The Pursuit of God, pp 90, by A.W. Tozer.
Photo Credit: flickr - Javier Parra

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Costly Perfume

Costly Perfume
by Melissa Campbell
I am weak and broken
I wonder at his scent--cedar, cinnamon and something else
I hear the sucking of their breath
I see a man who loves the least of these
I want to lay at his feet
I am weak and broken

I pretend I never knew the others
I feel no shame in baring my head
I touch my lips to dust-covered God feet
I worry I have only me to give
I cry as he lifts my face to his
I am weak and broken

I understand he paid in full
I say it is too much, but I will wait
I dream of catching the wind
I try to breathe, but only break
I hope it lingers, the mix of our perfume
I am weak and broken

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. ~ John 12:3 (NIV)

To learn how to write an "I Am" poem visit

Photo Credit:  Ryan Schultz - flickr

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Romance

The point is the love story.
We live in a love story in the midst of war. 
- John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance

Little Girl Dreams
Once upon a time I dreamed little girl dreams, of castles and crowns and happily-ever-afters.  My prince was my Daddy, handsome with dark curls and chocolate eyes, brilliant, tall and strong, having muscled arms that wrapped all love, rescued warm and safe, and drew me close for the sweetest of good-night kisses...and sometimes lashed out anger. 
Like father like daughter, I was quiet and contemplative, independent and strong-willed, analytical, but having a bent toward the artistic and creative side as well.  I lived to read at an early age, loved being outdoors, and learned to push against the boundaries, those austere iron gates that dared to limit my horizon--and where my mother often stood as a keeper.
Stubborn, I was forever reaching beyond the no's, always daring to test the waters for love and acceptance, though never able to catch more than a ripple or two.  And in spite of the fear that hovered and bellowed its thunder, sometimes overwhelming me with torment--You will never be enough!--I still hoped little-girl hope.  And I still dreamed little-girl dreams.
Because somewhere deep within was a longing for beauty and significance, and an innate, but not fully understood, sense of knowing a secret, one the world hates and wars against:  God fashioned us for romance.
He Loves Me
When I was in the second grade I penciled my first love poem to Ralphie MacFarland, a scrappy Irish boy with sun-bleached hair that hung to his shoulders and spiraled like my dad's.  His cornflower-blue gaze caused my heart to flutter a hundred butterflies. Ralphie lived in a boxy, brown-shingled cottage nestled snug among the pines, directly across the street from where my friend Molly's parents ran a dairy farm. 

In the "summer of love" Molly and I sat often among the blades high on a hill overlooking the little Cape Cod, up behind the barn where Bessie and the Jerseys grazed.  Some days we flopped on our backs, barefoot in the green, and dreamed dreams all color while adrift on clouds crossing a cerulean sea; and sometimes we plucked velvet the white of daisy petals round and round until they prophesied true:  He loves me.  He loves me not.  He loves me!

I got brave one day, in spite of the butterflies, and pedaled my royal-blue banana bike, streamers flying glitter from the handlebars, through the center of town to Molly's to ask her to deliver my verses, the brown paper now creased and wrinkled from hiding in my pockets. Along the way it slipped from my jeans into the milkweed growing along the road.
Oh, Sugar!  (An expletive I learned from my mom. {smile})
I didn't know.  Doug, my neighbor, my sometimes-best-friend and sometimes-worst-enemy, was only a few minutes behind me.  He was heading to the creek to look for crayfish--an illegal adventure we usually trekked together, illegal because of the sewage--another unknown--leaking from a neighbor's swampy backyard.  (Of course, we weren't allowed to play there either.)
Doug found the words of my heart lying lonely in the dirt, and being true to his nature and calling in life to make mine miserable, thought it great fun to read them out loud on the bus the next day.  I was mortified at the stumbling reveal of my heart!  Of course I denied it.  Vehemently.  But my cheeks, all rosy with shame, betrayed me and blabbed the truth.
Our bus, jammed with kids from both elementary and junior high schools, erupted into a chorus of oohs and ahhs.  And Ralphie, he laughed as we jerked to a stop in front of the pines, mussing my hair --a quick dismissal--as he sauntered to the front to get off.  A surge of laughter followed.  For the first time ever, I didn't get caught up in wonder of his beauty.  I couldn't bare to look.

The next five minutes were some of the longest in my life, as my friends and classmates sang a familiar playground taunt:  Missy and Ralphie sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.  First comes love.  Second comes marriage.  Then comes...
I couldn't get out of there fast enough, tripping down the stairs and running home with tears and snot all drivel across the shame, my heart breaking and leaking pain.  This was my first lesson in love, one of several, none of which ended in happily ever after.
To be continued...

Photo Courtesy:  flickr - Kabils

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nature Lover's Paradise

My sister assured me on Facebook today:  You DO live in a "Nature Lover's Paradise" really DO!
My husband and I often joke at how our home was advertised before we purchased it.  The house itself has been more of a "money pit" than a paradise. But it's peaceful here.  We have great neighbors.  And our location is the happening hang-out for wild-life.
Two summers ago a black bear attacked our garbage can, leaving paw prints like half-moons in punched metal.  He hugged a tree in the backyard until my brave husband, brandishing a flash light, scared him away.
This weekend, shortly after Hubby removed the winter pool cover, two Canadian Geese and their four goslings arrived for an afternoon swim.  This time Hubby armed himself with the pool skimmer and had to scoop up one of the babies who couldn't quite make it to dry ground.  (See the family picture below.)
Today, as my beloved and I were keeping time on the swing--me with my feet bare and he skin-damp from mowing grass--a Robin swooped and landed in the leafy green above, then began to whistle a rollicking melody.  Odd.  I never knew a Robin to serenade like this, but there was his Robin-red breast for all to see. 
He hopped with spindly legs to another branch, still tweeting, and revealing his true colors--a stark contrast of whites and blacks.

I was intrigued by the oddity of this "Robin," his strange plumage and mellow sound.   When have I last taken notice of a Robin up close?  Perhaps in the first days of spring with the brownish-gray blur of a female winging by, dropping grass and mud and twigs all across the porches as she stubbornly attempted to build a nest on our beams.  Or maybe in the early morning still wet with rain as she played tug-of-war with an earth-worm, needing nourishment for her babes.

It was almost summer now.  The chicks were chirping, and the parents, still haggardly searching for food.  Their presence had become commonplace and camouflaged--their nests hidden in shrubs, NOT on the beams.  Their dull gray presence had blended into the background of bark and twigs and trees.  In a whirl of bold color and lush green they became "the least of these." 
Robins are one of the things in life I look at frequently, but rarely see.  
Could this be some kind of an albino Robin?

A flash of brilliant red and a bright whistle drew my gaze again to our feathered friend.  Though I need reading glasses to make sense of fine print, I peered wide-eyed into the branches and easily saw the beauty of a creature I have never seen or heard before. (At least to my knowledge.) 
I watched and listened and allowed the glory of a bird to touch my soul.

He invited me to wonder.  And ponder how God speaks everyday in the tongues of men and angels and...other exotic creatures.  Even ordinary Robins.  Some days He paints a rainbow across the sky to remind us of His promises.  He kisses us good-night with a glitter of lightning bugs at sunset.  And sometimes just because, He sends love-notes wrapped in feathers, and dances joy over the child-like heart who reads them.

When I was a young girl, another set of eyes, older and wiser, showed me the way, eyes that reflected the blue of sky, the love of God and the grace-full life that was my grandmother.  She was my best friend and a nature lover.  I sat with her many evenings on a swing, swaying to the easy, peaceful rhythm of country summer, drinking sweet tea and beholding--taking notice and celebrating life around us.

Someday I hope to do this with my own grandchildren, those yet to come who will carry the legacy of seeking and seeing and swinging.  I hope to impart the same love she gave me--for life and the Life-giver, for those not always seen.

With the bright sound of the Grosbeak-not-a-Robin piercing through the gray of day, I heard my grandmother's lilting melody.  Part of her is planted and springing to life in me.  It's the serenade of a Nature Lover, keeping time with the rhythms of heaven, whistling to get our attention and wooing with the colors of love.  The Creator makes a bold display of His feathers and then hovers over us with the same--as a hen broods over her chicks, all because He loves us. 
All because He IS Love.

And all because He knows, if we see and hear and know Him, we will love Him too. 
Today a Rose-breasted Grosbeak sang his song and then flew away.  But Jesus invites us everyday to be with Him where He is, to see the glory His Father gave Him.  To be there, to be here, to be with Him wherever He is, is Paradise.
Yes, I DO live in a Nature Lover's Paradise!  I really do!

Photo Credit (Grossbeak):  Whitevale Wonder - flickr

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Creeping Into God

"Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God." ~ Soren Kierkagaard (1813-1885)

I recently found this quote from Soren Kierkagaard, a Danish philosopher in a blog I penned years ago.  As I read retro words, I have to smile.  My longing to "creep into God" still presses me hard beyond the veil.  Every taste, and all that I drink, every new delight and experience in Christ, every word and promise Spirit whispers into my being -- all these and more -- only increase my thirst for God.

In Christ the veil is torn.  His kingdom comes.  His will is done.  Heaven invades earth, and the two become one.  Jesus in me--the hope of glory--invades my spirit, soul and body.

Jesus was so into His Father that He claimed:  to know Him was to know the Father (John 8:19.)  Before He went to the cross He talked with His Abba:

Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me

...may [they] be one as we are one—I in them and you in me so that they may be brought to complete unity.  Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

... Righteous Father,...I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. 
~John 17:21-24 NIV

With great hope I put my trust in Jesus and the words he prayed, and re-post an excerpt of my own, retro and re-polished:

From Creeping Into God
June 1, 2007
When I gaze into a breathtaking sunset, or look at the indescribable beauty in the petals of a flower, or delight in the glory beams breaking through a canopy of leaves overhead, I think, "Is it possible that I could just disappear into the One who orchestrated all this loveliness that surrounds me?"

There are other moments, precious as well, when friends and I sing our hearts out in love songs to Jesus.  And He comes.

When Jesus comes, it's all about Him.  No longer do I remember the bad day at work, or the yellow haze of pollen floating outside and making me sneeze, or how the girls complained about the casserole I made for dinner.  I lose all thoughts of worry, pain, hunger and strife as I press into the source of all my satisfaction and delight.

When Jesus comes, I lose awareness of myself and everyone else in the room for that matter. There is a unity of spirit --a oneness of body--that comes to hungry hearts who worship together in spirit and truth.

When Jesus comes I forget to breathe. I am no longer me. I'm an eagle soaring on the wind into the sun.

I wonder if Enoch felt like this when he walked with God -- faithfully, and then no more,  because God took him away.

I've been thinking about this friendship with God, our God who is so brilliant an artist--the Author of Life himself--that He paints across nature into our lives a portrait of Himself.  Who is He really?

How much more of Him is there to know?

Is He as close to me as my next breath?

How deep into His presence can I go?

How am I changed from glory to glory?

Shall I live the mystery of Enoch?

Who can tell the story?

Ponder this:  He who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit." (1 Corinthians 6:17 NIV)

If the Spirit of God lives within me, and I am in Christ the Son, just as He is in the Father, and He and the Father are one, doesn't it seem that I am already there?  In God?

I am convinced.  It is possible to creep into God!  And become so full of Him that we walk in a higher realm, that of the kingdom. When we enter into God's heart we see as He sees.  We love as He loves.  We become as He is in this world.  And our spirit flies! 

There is a highway of God where the enemy cannot come near us--it is the Way of holiness and love--and boasts the name of the Son, Jesus. This is what God planned for us all along: To walk as Enoch walked, one day barefoot in the dirt, and the next, swallowed up by Love.

Can you envision yourself?  A little child, trusting, vulnerable, precious, toddling to your heavenly Father, crawling up into his lap, and getting wrapped snug in His arms of love, comfort and security? I want to run there, and take everyone with me, there where I'm lost and found and far away from all the worries and cares of this life, there in that hidden and wonderful place where we are known and loved and changed to be like Him.

Photo Credit: James Chew - flickr
Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Word of Love Come Down

God is the perfect poet. ~ Robert Browning   

Word of Love Come Down
by Melissa Campbell

Word of Love
Come down, come down
Yah plants his seed in the earth
Dances barefoot in the dirt
Sing now
And we will listen 

Word of Love

Come down, come down
God born in flesh to die 
Love lifted to the sky
Suffer now
And we will spirit-waken

Word of Love
Come down, come down
From the cross you gave yourself to
In the fire you brought us through
Ascend now
And we will rise joy-strengthened

Word of Love
Come down, come down
Open our hearts to revelation
Inhabit the gates of your kingdom
Reign now
And we will shine
The light of your day-breaking.

Photo by Wonderlane (flickr)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How the Wildflowers Grow

How the Wildflowers Grow
by Melissa Campbell
Faces beaming, soaking Son
Drenched with healing, victory won
Breaking open, reaching, free
Shouting praise jubilantly
Joy awakening, colors bloom
Smearing fragrance, gleaning truth
Weeping tears to flow as springs
  Rain-washed petals behold their King
Beauty graceful, wings on Wind
Whirling, twirling, resting again
Daring to hope, dreaming bold dreams
Declaring dominion in holy decree

Women rising, daughters, sisters, moms
Seeing, being, peaceful balm
Rainbows reaching, hover low
Announcing freedom, proclaiming hope

Oh, taste and see the beauty
Give glory to the King
The wildflowers grow lovely
As they laugh and dance and sing

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you of little faith." ~ Luke 12:27-28 (NIV)

I wrote this after spending a weekend with an army of beautiful daughters of God, all wildflowers blooming into maturity,  "spunky"  and bold.  I give thanks to the women from Church at the Heights who organized the conference, and all my sisters who boldly shared their beauty, and special thanks to our speaker, J. Lee Grady, who carries and imparts the Father's heart for His girls. 

Photo Credit:  Olgierd Pstrykotworca (flickr)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Show Me Your Face

There exists a mystery in the world, and in all the looks of it-a mystery because of a meaning. There is a jubilance in every sunrise, a sober sadness in every sunset. There is a whispering of strange secrets in the wind of the twilight, and an unknown bliss in the song of the lark.

All nature, from the mountains to the sea to the fog that hangs so low on the hills, the heather in August, the hot, the cold, the rain - everything speaks, like the flower, messages from God, the Father of the universe.  The beautiful things around us are the expressions of God’s face, or as in Faust, the garment whereby we see the deity. 
~ Excerpts from "Discovering the Character of God"  by George MacDonald

Perilous days surround us.  Fear crouches low at the door of our hearts and minds, convulsing with its ache to pummel cruelty, smash us mercilessly to the floor.  Do we yield, frightened, to the roar of raging storms?  Do we cower,  frozen silent, and our faith lukewarm?
The earth groans.  Nations shake.  Kings and kingdoms break like cracks in the dirt, topple, tumble helpless into the jowls of history.  While chaos abounds, media seduces, entices, entertains, and the worlds sings us to sleep with lullaby's of vain imagination and false religion.  Is there faith to be found in the earth?  Is there peace?
In the midst of darkness a voice: like the sound of many waters, she cries for mercy.  The bride weeps with her groom.  She sees with clarity and compassion a world gone crazy, flailing wild in grief and anger, suffering need.  She bleeds as He does, convinced of this: only love can heal the pain.
And she knows: the mercy she gives will be the same mercy given in her time of need. The world may not deserve it.  But neither did she.
She presses on, soars higher, looks beyond the heavy loom of storm clouds hovering ominous.  Bold faith stretches long, batters the night with day.  Light breaks -- she focuses her gaze on the Son.  Strength rises.  Hope dawns.  Healing comes like the rain.  
Listen.  Hear the whisper of breath from another realm, so close it dances delight on the hearts of all who have tasted and seen: He is good! 
We are invited.  We have been shown the way, given white to wear on that great Wedding Day.  We, who can no longer remain earth-bound, must lead on, militantly in love.
Held fast by the Lamb, our lamps burning bright, we lean into the winds, yearning for our heavenly home.  We soar higher, bow lower, pick up our crosses and follow.  Pick up our neighbors and carry them if necessary, love them along the way.
In doing this, we touch the face of God.
Show me Your face, Lord.  Show me Your face.  Then gird up my legs that I might stand in this Holy Place.  Show me your face, Lord, your power and grace.  I [will] make it through the end if I [can] just see your face.
~ lyrics from Show Me Your Face by Don Potter

Photo Credit:  flickr - Jeffrey Pott

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Little Seeds, Eternal Harvest

Little Seeds
by Melissa Campbell

Who can understand the everlasting,
The going on from earth-bound to forever,
The breaking free from time and space?

And who can comprehend,
How the life in a seed so small,
Can yield itself in death,
To bring the greater glory?

Who understands the love of a Father,
Who considers suffering a badge of honor,
And gives His Son as sacrifice?

And how do we adjust,
To the inevitable, bitter-sweet release,
That comes too soon for some,
Snuffing rhythmic breath,
Cutting off all glory seen,
Replacing hopes and dreams,
With fading memories,
And raging grief?

And how do we explain,
The slow delay of healing,
The painful stretch of waiting,
Lingering, watching,
A body once healthy, perfect,
Struggle to remain,
Knowing someday it will betray us,
And leave us gasping for breath?

Death leaves an empty place that no one can fill...

...but God.

In the depth of our pain, He meets us.
When there seems to be no way, He moves us on.
In the darkness, He shines hope,
'Till we have nothing left but holding on.
God takes our senseless suffering,
The ugly mess of dying,
And makes something holy, beautiful,
Eternal, Divine.

Our God is a raging fire,
And He has given us the choice,
Will we shine like stars in the universe,
Or burn with eternal regret?

The answer lies in how we choose to live now.
Will we hold on to our lives,
Or lay them down,
As they were meant to be...

...holy given, little seeds?

Can we learn to let go,
And discover great grace, 
More than enough to overcome, 
To make it through, 
To become the dream of God fulfilled...

...His Sons and Daughters, 
Full of beauty, full of glory?

With Christ we can.  
All He asks is that we dare to believe, 
And look within, 
Not to ourselves, 
But to Him--the Beautiful One, 
And our Hope of glory.  

"Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal."

~Jesus, to his disciples, John 12:24-25, The Message

I pulled this poem from the archives today in honor of my farmer friends who have a burden to plant and grow seeds, both physical and spiritual, and for all our loved ones who have gone and will go before us. 
The world is chaotic.  Fear of death threatens to overwhelm us. But God is in our midst.  He sees. He knows. He cries our tears. He has the victory! And He has called us to lay down our lives. There is greater glory in knowing Jesus Christ. The head of the enemy has been crushed beneath His feet, and ours as well.  Death no longer has a hold on us.  We are dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ.

"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
~Paul, to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 (NIV)

Little Seeds, arise, shine, for your light has come!  Blessings always.

I am joining my sweet friend, Jen, and the beautiful women of the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood @ Finding Heaven.  Come share the love and inspiration! (Click here to join us.)

Photo Credit: flickr - Darren Shilson